ncsoft

A major global studio based in South Korea, known in the west for games like WildStar, Guild Wars 2, and Aion, among many others.

City of Titans and Ship of Heroes team up for City of Heroes successor panel at PAX West

There will be a City of Heroes panel at PAX West… after a fashion. The game may be gone, but the City of Titans development team will be there to talk about carrying on after the game’s closure and making a spiritual successor. They’ll be joined by representatives of the teams behind Valiance Online and Ship of Heroes, as well, talking about keeping a strong community going between divergent teams with similar goals.

This panel will be in the Werecat theater in the evening of Sunday, September 3rd, so it’s going to require you to stick out most of the convention if you want to see it. On the other hand, it also features three community-led movements to resurrect the spirit of a beloved game, so that may be motivation enough right there.

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Guild Wars 2 team answers living world questions while dancing around expansion spoilers

Is it too early to declare this the week of Guild Wars 2? What with the release of the much-anticipated One Path Ends season finale and teasing the expansion reveal, all eyes seem swiveled toward ArenaNet, hungry for information. To feed the ravenous player population, the team subjected itself to an AMA on Reddit yesterday to tackle questions about the update while dancing around any potential expansion spoilers. It also kicks off with a producer’s letter of sorts.

“As the season finale, today’s episode is a conclusion and also a lead-in to what comes next,” Mike O’Brien posted. “Our goal was to do it in a meaningful way, not with a simple cliffhanger that’d get spoiled as soon as we announced the next expansion. I can’t say more without revealing too much, but I love it that we get to make episodes like this and tell stories like this. I want to congratulate the episode six team for the care and crafting that went into getting it just right.”

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 128: Geeks at Disney World

On this week’s show, Justin and Bree talk about a beloved MMO going mobile, the end of Guild Wars 2 (in a manner of speaking), the start of Dark and Light, LARPing at Disney World, and more!

It’s the Massively OP Podcast, an action-packed hour of news, tales, opinions, and gamer emails! And remember, if you’d like to send in your own letter to the show, use the “Tips” button in the top-right corner of the site to do so.

Listen to the show right now:

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Shroud of the Avatar stymies insider trading at the perceived expense of backer privileges

Yesterday, Shroud of the Avatar’s Starr Long announced a change to its testing forums that has ruffled more than a few backer feathers.

“Due to the potential economic and gameplay advantages of access to the QA server, QA Bug Forums, and Release Instructions prior to a Release we are no longer going to make those exclusive to Dev+. Starting with next release (Release 45) access to the QA server, QA Bug Forums and early drafts of the Release Instructions will be available to ALL paying backers regardless of level. This will put everyone on a level playing field and remove any potential advantages. […] Dev+ Forums and access to them will remain unchanged. Only access to the QA servers (and associated bug forums) is changing.”

Long apologizes for the fact that the “previous policy has allowed some players to gain advantage over others” — according to Reddit, those amounted to insider trading and economic advantages akin to those enjoyed (and exploited) by Guild Wars 2’s secret tester program.

But some long-time backers are annoyed, arguing that they’ve now lost one of the perceived perks of their support and will now see more competition for the bug reports they were incentivized to lodge. However, in statements to Massively OP, Long pointed out that QA access itself wasn’t part of any pledge purchase and that Dev+ forum access will remain intact.

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Flameseeker Chronicles: Guild Wars 2 One Path Ends is live, plus first impressions of Siren’s Landing

I realise that you were probably expecting some rather excited ramblings that contained my first impressions of the Guild Wars 2 season 3 finale, One Path Ends, to drop the moment the episode became playable, but the structure of my coverage for this episode is a little different than the rest of this season’s articles. This time around, my pre-episode playthrough with the devs was very different: The episode itself remained locked for the playthrough hour and the press accounts were deactivated afterwards to ensure that the finale would be an absolute surprise for everyone involved with no spoilers. We instead had a guided group tour of Siren’s Landing, the new open world zone that holds the bulk of the action in this episode.

In this edition of Flameseeker Chronicles, I’ll share my thoughts on the new zone with you while also talking about the zone’s relative location and basic meta. My full thoughts on the actual episode will come in the next edition without the usual first impressions piece, so you won’t have to wait too long for that if you are not playing for yourself and are living this season vicariously through others! Please note that the article contains meta and zone content spoilers, so read on with caution if you prefer to see that for yourself first.

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Blade and Soul announces server merges, hypes upcoming patches

Major events are in motion over at Blade and Soul, illuminated by the game’s newest producer’s letter from Jonathan Lien. While Lien spent a few paragraphs touting the team’s progress over the past year, he had a few bombshell announcements that followed.

The first is that server merges are incoming for August 9th. These will impact both North American and European servers, taking the server count down to two for NA and three for EU. Server transfers are scheduled to be taken offline on July 26th, so if you need to move your character for some reason, you’ll want to do it today.

Lien also outlined the game’s upcoming summer updates: “Immediately ahead of us is the new Fortune Falls update. You’ll be able to explore a new event dungeon, where you can snag an awesome swimsuit set and valuable upgrade materials for a limited time! And on the horizon, you’ll be able to explore a new major update named Dark Origins. It’s got two brand new high level raids, a continuation of our story quests, a new dungeon, systems updates, and LOADS of new gear and cosmetics.”

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70% of Lineage M’s launch players were over 30 years old

The Lineage franchise continues its unstoppable runaway train force in South Korea — this time with Lineage M.

Korea’s Pulse News reports that Lineage M now counts over 10 million players in its first month. The game launched overseas just a month ago with 5.5 million preorders; as of two weeks ago, it had already earned $89 million in revenue, what Pulse calls the “rapidest gain in the Korean game industry.”

Intriguingly, Pulse quotes a WiseApp stat that 70% of Lineage M’s launch-day users were over 30 years old, compared to 29% under 30. Is it a shift in the MMO market, a shift in the mobile market, or a marker for Lineage’s overall base?

SuperData’s June report doesn’t include Lineage M, but the Netmarble-backed Lineage 2 Revolution made the top 10 for mobile revenue in May and indeed set monthly revenue records in Korea — which Lineage M aims to break.

Expect NCsoft’s next quarterly report next month.

Source: Pulse News. Thanks, Sally!

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Guild Wars 2 cracks down on PvP match manipulation

Guild Wars 2 players who were engaging in shady activities designed to boost their PvP win count and status are finding themselves the target of ArenaNet’s extreme displeasure. The studio said on the forums a few weeks ago that it has launched an investigation into match manipulation and is already disciplining identified individuals:

“We have received many reports this season about match manipulation both here on the forums and via in-game reports. Our investigation revealed that a few players were sharing a handful of accounts, which is clearly against our user agreement.

While the investigation into this is still ongoing, at this time we have enough evidence to take action. As a result, we’ve decided to give dishonor to the offending accounts for the rest of the season.”

Most recently, ArenaNet says it’s “identified additional accounts of players who were involved in account sharing and match manipulation” — they’re getting dishonor too. “Our investigation is still underway, so additional action may be taken later, should we determine it appropriate,” writes the studio.

Source: Official forums #1, #2. Thanks Mike!

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Gigantic devs liken their graphics to candy and plastic toys

If you love to hate on brightly colored cartoony-stylized graphics of games like World of Warcraft, League of Legends, and even Wildstar, know that the tide’s against you.

So goes the argument of Motiga’s Vinod Rams, who compares MOBA Gigantic’s graphics to candy during a recent Gamasutra livestream. The idea, he says, was to combine styles popularized by Disney and Hayao Miyazaki with bright plastic toy looks rather than photorealism — and consequently, that Gigantic is in the Nintendo ARMS/Splatoon family of games because it looks like candy.

“You wanna reach in and grab one of these guys and just pop ’em in your mouth. Like… candy is completely engineered to entice you to pick it up. It’s an unnatural color sometimes. Why would I want to eat something that’s bright green?”

But of course, we do because it catches our attention.

The design conversation begins around 15 minutes into the video and resumes again around 35 minutes if you’d like to hear the whole thing.

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One Shots: Hail to the victor!

Have you ever been able to capture a truly victorious moment in your MMORPG journeys? Rees Racer did, and he is not above showing off (fortunately for us!).

“No spoilers, so I’ll just pass along a TERA cutscene shot from a meeting with Priestess Ciebel after the defeat of a traitorous threat to the Alliance,” Rees writes. “Of course, my Gunner is issued new orders almost immediately as there are seemingly always other harbingers of doom to confront…”

You save the world once, everyone wants you to keep on doing it, over and over again. My advice? Start charging per apocalypse and put aside a portion for retirement in another dimension.

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The Game Archaeologist: EverQuest II East

Publishing a video game globally is a monumental task, more so if it is a live online game such as what you’d find with MMORPGs. With different countries and regions come various traditions, prohibitions, language barriers, government restrictions, playstyle expectations, and financial models that must all be sorted out and overcome for these games to come out.

One of the most famous examples of adapting an MMO for use in another country is how World of Warcraft had to make significant graphical changes to its death-themed imagery (including its Forsaken race) in order to get approval to operate in China. Censorship aside, many studios have adjusted their games to include elements appealing to a certain country in order to get more fans (such as WildStar’s panda explosion).

Today we’re going to look at a short-term oddity in EverQuest II’s history, when SOE attempted to expand the game into the east — and how that rebounded back to impact the west.

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Guild Wars 2 teases its legendary Orrian hammer, retailers fiddle with release dates

There’s a lot of excitement, confusion, and uncertainty regarding Guild Wars 2’s immediate future, but it’s looking like the devs are going to keep players on their toes in the best of ways. Now that it looks like the end of Season 3 will come with a new Orrian zone, what about a giant smashy hammer to go along with it?

On Twitter, the devs teased an upcoming legendary hammer, saying that players could “reclaim your own piece of Orr to take into battle.” The video shows a character from behind, walking while toting a giant spanner-like weapon.

So what’s past that? The expansion, hopefully. Everyone’s getting in on the giant office pool, guessing when xpack will drop and what it will contain — even retailers. It looks like some sort of reveal or preorder situation might happen in the next week, with some retailers posting (and removing) release dates and counting down to four days from now. It should be stated that this is all just rumors and guesswork right now until confirmed, but even so… does September 30th sound like a good time for a launch to you?

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